Papers of Reverend Theophilus Talbot, antiquarian and retired clergyman.

Scope and Content

The content consists of various papers, booklets, notebooks, correspondence and newspaper cuttings covering a variety of topics that interested Revd Talbot. Topics include the history of the Isle of Man from medieval to the early modern period, the individual Bishops of Sodor and Man, Manx Churches, the naming of Manx parishes and locations, Manx ballads and the publication of the Manx Note Book (Talbot notes down the numerous errors and provides the correct information). Other Manx related material includes details on the different rulers of the Isle of Man, druids and King Orry’s Grave. Material highlighting Manx welfare includes topics on the Manx Industrial Home and the idea for a new hospital on the Island.

Ecclesiastical matters are also present with topics such as Saints, Saints Days and Fair Days, the Diocesan Calendar, the New Testament, the English reformations, Non Conformists and Non-Jurors. Further documents highlight particular tithes (tax taken for the support of the church and the clergy) on the Island and ministry accounts of the money received by Westminster (medieval /early modern period). Revd Talbot also took a keen interest in meteorological matters, noting down weather changes and temperatures of the Island. Material relating to natural history, such as fossils, botany and geology was another topic that greatly interested Revd Talbot. Further material includes legal documents such as an indenture, a will and the legal process of a probate.

Administrative / Biographical History

Theophilus Talbot (1824-1908) was born in Kent and the son of Joseph (b.1782-1786) and Mary Ann (b.1782-1786) Talbot. Arriving in the Isle of Man in 1848, Talbot was a minister for the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Douglas. Wesleyanism was a major Methodist movement in Great Britain following its split from the Church of England in the eighteenth century. In 1852 Revd Talbot married Mary Jane née Crebbin (1828-1875) at St George’s, Douglas. Mary was the daughter of George (c.1795-1871), a successful merchant in Douglas and Margaret Jones née Haskins (1799-1862). The couple had three daughters, the eldest being Georgina Haskins (1855-1873), born in Scotland and buried in St George’s, Douglas. Their second daughter Henrietta Spencer (1857-1974) was born in Newton Abbot, Devon and is buried in St George’s, Douglas. Mary Stuart (1860-1939), the youngest daughter, was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire and died in Kent.

In the late 1860s Talbot left the Wesleyan Methodist Church and entered the Church of England. On 21 December 1869 Talbot was ordained a deacon by Bishop Powys (1805-1877), Bishop of Sodor and Man from 1854 to 1877 and on 30 November 1871 he was priested at the Chapel in Bishopscourt. Upon his ordination, Talbot was appointed to a curate’s position in the western parish of German, Isle of Man and on 13 July 1872 he transferred to the chaplaincy of St Olave’s, Ramsey. By the 1880s Revd Talbot was widowed. Retiring to Douglas he devoted his time to literary and antiquarian research. His passions included translations of Manx documents, Manx history, Manx archaeology and botany, accumulating a large and valuable library boasting approximately 3,000-4,000 volumes. He was the first secretary to the Archaeological Commission of the Isle of Man in 1878, which had been established by the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man Henry Loch (1827-1900) and he was a member of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society. Revd Talbot was also a large shareholder in the Douglas Gaslight Company and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

Upon Revd Talbot’s death in 1908 he was buried in St George’s, Douglas, leaving his entire estate to his only surviving daughter Mary Stuart Talbot. She in turn donated his entire library collection to the Borough of Douglas, financed the creation of the Pastoral Staff of the Diocese of Sodor and Man (1908) and erected a chancel window (in memory of her family) at St Matthew’s Church, Douglas (a church with which she was closely associated). Mary Talbot also financed the posthumously published translation by her father from Latin of the Manx Manorial Roll of 1511-1515, a very early record of all landholders in the Isle of Man. This 1924 publication was accompanied by a large number of appendices compiled by William Cubbon (1865-1955) the Douglas Borough Librarian 1912-1922 and Librarian (and eventual Director from 1932-1940) to the Manx Museum 1922-1940.

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Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from Manx newspapers the Isle of Man Examiner (14 March 1908) and Mona's Herald (27 December 1939). Isle of Man newspapers available online at

Further biographical material was gathered from the websites (accessed 28 Jan 2016) and (accessed 28 Jan 2016).

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), January 2016.

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